In the early 1990s, street skateboarding became a cultural phenomenon for teenagers at the time. One of the teens is now Dr. Brian Jarvis, associate professor of music theory. At 14, he received his first skateboard for Christmas. He quickly fell in love with the hobby and would flip through books from the library trying to learn how to do tricks.
“It’s not the normal way to learn skateboarding, but I have a book or two about skateboarding, so I learned about certain aspects of skateboarding and how to build ramps,” Jarvis said. “Most of it was just trial and error, watching videos of people[doing]things and seeing things in magazines.”
As Jarvis grew up, he fell in love with classical music after watching a movie called “The Man Who Wasn’t There” and fell in love with a soundtrack that included Beethoven’s music. Even though classical music isn’t part of skate culture, Jarvis knew it was the career path he wanted to take.
Jarvis explained that the self-taught experience was his love of music and skateboarding.
“Usually, skateboarding is just you and your friends, with no definite goals. You’re just doing it for yourself, and other people don’t really help you get better,” Jarvis said. “So, it’s tied to music, because playing the instrument itself is a lot like, it’s just you and the instrument, you just have to work.”
While skateboarding is growing in popularity, it remains a hobby limited to criminals in the eyes of ordinary people.
“Skateboarders can easily be labeled by society as rebels, social deviants, or rule breakers,” said Zoë Corwin, Ph.D., a research professor at the University of Southern California.
This stigma surrounding skateboarders has led to plans and efforts by cities to offer skate parks. When cities don’t provide dedicated areas for skateboarders, it can create tension between skateboarders and residents, according to the Public Skate Park Development.
“The situation in many cities is reflected in the mobile community of skateboarding youth, who the general public sees as a disruptive, brash group of teenagers. These communities have created a subculture of ‘outsiders’ in their youth,” Public Skate Park The Development Organization website says.
Jarvis realizes the negative stereotypes that come with being a skateboarder and an academic at the same time.
“I’ve never heard ‘well, you’re a skateboarder, so you have to be x, y, or z.'” Even though that was the stereotype surrounding it, (it) never really caused any problems,” Jia “I don’t like people looking at me and saying, ‘Oh, you’re a skateboarder,’ I just want to be who I am,” Weiss said. “
Skateboarding has evolved from its early roots and is now seen as a professional sport around the world and hosted at the Summer Olympics. The collision of the two worlds of skateboarding and music began to exceed Jarvis’ expectations.
“There is little overlap in the fun. Joaquin and Quinten Blanchard are two UTEP skating students, and I don’t think I ever knew the skating music students in my class,” Jarvis said. “I’ve been teaching for years, so it was novel to have skateboarders start to be part of the music world. They were so separate for me, so when they came together, it felt great.”
Alberto Silva Fernandez is a professional photographer, contact details at [email protected]; @albert.sf08 on Instagram; @albertosilva_f on Twitter.